I recently read the BuzzFeed article on CrossFit’s founder and now former CEO Greg Glassman’s racist tweet. The piece also cites what I can only describe as a bizarre Zoom call with other CrossFit franchise owners where he stated, “We won’t mourn for George Floyd” and berated the licensees of CrossFit, essentially Glassman’s bread and butter. It was just a real bad scene.
I’m not sure where to begin with this one, but let me see if I can give it a try.
First and foremost, I think, Glassman thought that the Zoom call would remain private. Bush League blunder. Never believe that anything said in a private forum cannot get leaked to the public. This edict certainly rings true for video conference calls. All it takes is for someone on the line to take a few screen grabs or recording clips and send it to a reporter. Bam! In moments, your off-hand, off-kilter remarks now litter the interwebs for public consumption and disdain. NEVER assume that your comments in an internal private matter won’t find its way into the public domain. More to the point, act like they will every time.
Second, if you want to make statements that qualify a controversial position, especially one grounded in race relations, do me a favor. Think about the comments for more than a nanosecond before you go spouting off at the mouth, will ya? In Glassman’s case, some of his points could find their way into a thoughtful, civil discussion if framed in the right context. When you clear through his vitriolic diatribe on the Zoom call, I do see some noteworthy arguments about how looters and rioters used the George Floyd event to personal, selfish gain. Okay, I can see the merits of that position. However, Glassman drowned out those points when he slandered the Zoom participants that asked the reasonable question of why CrossFit hadn’t spoken up about the murder by Minneapolis police officers. Bullying your way through a discussion in an attempt to shut down opposition will never work.
I don’t care under what circumstance an organization finds itself in a crisis. Empathy and action remain constant watchwords. In this case, Glassman showed complete disregard for somebody else’s perspective and opinions. More to the point, he showed inaction by his inability even to recognize that they needed to do something and was defiant in that.
And now, he’s “retired.”